Monday, May 19, 2014

Day 14 // Going with the Flow

Right before my first class on Monday I anxiously sat at my desk and peered at the clock. 11:45am. My first class was at noon. "Should I head to class now?" I asked Monique. She giggled and shook her head.

Apparently the appropriate time to leave for your class is after the bell rings.

So...after class starts. Which may or may not ring on time anyway. Or may not ring at all. Monique explained time is really no concept in Thailand. You just go at a comfortable pace and show up when you are meant to. I made my way to the 4th floor (no A/C in the room = kill me now) and took a moment to catch my breath. My heart wasn't going to slow down because this was the first time I am entering a classroom as a teacher. Holy crap. Amy Skinner, a teacher. Doesn't look right to me. But all be damned if it is.

Now I definitely understand the concept of the first class being guinea test out all your material and timing on them. Much to my dismay my totally perfect 50 minute lesson plan was more like a 25 minute block of me talking to a group of wide eyed and terrified 7th graders. Uhhhh now what? ....Hangman deserves it's own award in the world of beginning teachers. Talk about a life saver.

A beautiful thing about this culture is the acknowledgment of saving face. The students aren't going to judge you for a crappy lesson plan or FAR too many hangman games, or even stumbling on your words. It's not part of their culture to inflict shame or embarrassment on one another.

Most of my anxiety stems from threatening social situations where I could be perceived in a negative way or embarrassed, but I have yet to experience that here.

It's entirely fueled by my own insecurities when I am nervous about teaching. Granted I am holding myself to a certain standard on this job I took across the world, but the kids and the coordinators aren't going to make me feel like shit if I decided to show a movie all of class because I didn't prepare enough.

So here's to going with the flow and just calming down. It's not going to be the end of the world if I have a bad lesson or some kid behaves badly in class. Life just goes on.

Sunset over school

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